It’s been almost a year since thieves ripped out about $50,000 worth of copper wiring along the new L.A. River pathway in Elysian Valley, blacking out about 100 newly installed LED lights. The thieves broke into the electrical pull boxes installed at every light pole and pulled out the wires buried underground. Last month, workers began the time consuming and costly task of preparing each box for a new concrete cover that officials hope will deter the copper thieves. An email from a city official published by the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch blog explains how the target hardening will work:
“Our crews started work on the LA River Bikeway 1C the second weekend of January (1/7-1/8), the first weekend was a Holiday. So we have been out there for only four weekends so far. The initial work, which is starting at the North end of this section of bikeway (Fletcher Dr) involves sawcutting around the pullboxes, followed by the removal of all of the concrete around the pullboxes (very labor intensive and time consuming). We then have to rework the conduit and reset the pullbox at a lower grade so we can pour a concrete cap to seal each pullbox.”
The lights won’t be turned on until June after the city spends about $400,000 on the repairs, a city official told Steve Appleton, President of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Council. That sounds a bit steep by Appleton said the lights will help improve safety and deter other crime along the increasingly popular pedestrian and bike pathway. “It’s quite important for the community,” he said.
The copper thieves, however, seem to be turning their attention to other nearby targets. A police officer recently informed residents that copper wire thieves returned once again to a nearby bakery for more of the valuable metal.